Friday, December 19, 2008

The Glen Boulder, a little closer, on its precarious perch on a shoulder of Mt. Washington, NH

Glaciers carry other stuff besides gravel, sand, boulders and the odd bits of smaller stones. Remember the glacier in Austria that deposited a 5,000 year-old corpse near a popular hiking trail? Glaciers carry other organic matter including billions of viable seeds, organic matter in the form of millions and million of cubic yards of soil components including loams it has scraped up when it moves through open areas and forest. It contains whole and splintered trees, leaves, plants, animal carcasses, you name it. A glacier is like a bulldozer that bashes down trees and plants, everything in its path. It’s all ‘plucked’ up and carried along. When the glacier melts all this detritus gets dumped on the ground and becomes an integral part of the landscape. A glacier destroys habitats, but it’s also carrying some ready made, new ecosystems in the making.

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